Welsh pubs lost £16k over Christmas as WBPA calls for relaxed restrictions

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Financial hit: Welsh pubs on averge lost £16k over the Christmas period
Financial hit: Welsh pubs on averge lost £16k over the Christmas period

Related tags Wales Coronavirus Finance Social responsibility Mark Drakeford

Welsh pubs lost £16,000 in revenue over the fortnight festive period from 19 December to 1 January, the Welsh Beer & Pub Association (WBPA) recently revealed as the First Minister announced no change to Covid restrictions in Wales.

This is down 34% from the same period in 2019. The revenue performance in Welsh pubs was particularly bad in the second week, performing 13pp worse than English pubs. 

This comes after First Minister Mark Drakeford announced Covid restrictions would not be relaxed in Wales: this means social distancing, no groups larger than six and table service only are rules that will stay in pubs last week (Friday 7 January).

Call for clear timeline

The WBPA is urging the First Minister to provide a clear timeline on when these restrictions will be removed to allow Welsh pubs and brewers to plan for next steps. 

WBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The festive period has been devastating for our pubs and brewers in Wales who had targeted this time as an opportunity to recuperate some of the losses they have experienced over the past 21 months. The restrictions in place are significantly impacting trade at a time which is already extremely difficult for the sector”.  

Drakeford said the Omicron wave peak was likely around 10 to 14 days away, and critiqued Boris Johnson of failing to take necessary steps to protect people from Covid. 

He said: "Wales is taking action as is Scotland, as is Northern Ireland and are countries right across Europe and right across the globe".

Omicron storm

He added: "In England, we have a government that is politically paralysed with a Prime Minister unable to secure an agreement through his cabinet to take the actions that his advisors have been telling him ought to be taken”. 

The First Minister warned the “storm of Omicron” had arrived in Wales due to “astronomically high” positivity rates, meaning the Government were in no position to withdraw protections. 

McClarkin said: “It is imperative that a timeline is put in place for the removal of these restrictions enabling the sector to navigate the challenges ahead. Should alert level two restrictions remain in place it is evident that additional financial support will be needed to support the sector already at breaking point”. 

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